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Friday, October 21, 2005

Poisoned Rats Dangerous

Someone asked if poisoned rats are dangerous to cats and dogs and, if so, how to ensure that cats and dogs do not eat the poisoned rats. This is a followup question to an earlier answer about rat repellant:

Rat poison can certainly be very dangerous to domestic animals who eat the dead rats.

Rat poisons come in 3 varieties:

1) Anticoagulant rodenticides
2) Cholecalciferol rodenticides
3) Bromethalin rodenticides

In the past there have been various other types of rat poison, however, these 3 varieties are generally what are used today. The first type, anticoagulant rodenticide, works by thinning the blood. The second type, cholecaliferol rodenticide, works by disrupting the rat's ability to process calcium. The third, bromethalin rodenticide, works by reducing the rat's ability to control muscle contraction.

Each of these three types of rat poison are very dangerous, and potentially fatal, if ingested by cats or dogs. In addition, if the rats which are killed as a result of eating these poisons are eaten by a cat or a dog the result could also be fatal.

If you are considering using rat poison to contol a rat infestation problem ensure that you have confirmed that no cats or dogs will be able to come into contact with the dead rats and ensure that any dead rats which you find after using the poison are disposed of properly. It would be responsible to talk to your neighbours about your choice to use a rat poison to confirm that they do not have any objections.

If you feel that cats or dogs are likely to find, and subsequently eat, dead poisoned rats then you should not use rat poison. In this case you should use poison free rat traps instead, they are not generally as effective as rat poison, however, the use of a trap will eliminate the possibility of a cat or dog eating a poisoned rat.

If your cat or dog starts acting strangely take them to your local vet immediately and ask your neighbours if they have been using rat poison and, if so, what type. If they have an empty container of the rat poison take it to the vet who will be able to use it to assist in the diagnosis and treatment.

Remember, poison is dangerous stuff and must be used responsibly, if you have any comments please let me know and if you have any other questions which you'd like me to answer for free please send them to Ben Dash at


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